Area: Built up 142 SqM
Location: Bhorgiri, Bhimashankar WLS
Contractor: Subhash, his family and his friends
Budget: 9 lakh Rupees (12,000 USD)
Completion status: Completed in September 2021
How does one build a house in a tribal village accessible only on foot? Its a community effort for the people of the small hamlet called Yelavali located on a plateau in the Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary. One would think that transporting light weight materials up to the village would be the way to go, but it must withstand the heavy rain and winds during the monsoon and the scorching heat on the plateaus of the western ghats.
The challenge for us was to design an efficient structure for the climate, with materials the locals are comfortable building with. The footprint couldn’t be too big while giving them additional spaces a family requires. Traditionally all activities like cooking, cleaning, drying, socializing and rearing cattle happens in the verandahs which typically are add on structures to the main house. Here we integrated those within deep set verandahs providing relief to the structure from heat. The volume of the central space was used to carve out two rooms above the living and bedroom below. This keeps the lower space cool.
The construction was taken up entirely by Subhash, his family and friends. We simply gave them our inputs as required. The main structure is made in local basalt stone and brick. The roof and attic floors were made in MS fabrication and cement boarding where the material and fabricators were brought from the nearby villages.
This structure survived cyclone Taukte because of simple measures like anchoring the roof fabrication to the walls and securing the first row of clay tiles down with a simple MS bar running across fixed to the rafters. The house cost Rs.9,00,000/- to build which includes a 25% hike in material cost attributed to carrying it up to the village on foot.
We visited Yelavali and the village of Bhomale for a wild vegetables festival recently and got a chance to interact with the locals about this house. we got good feedback from them and more people expressed their wish to build similar houses in this region.